Veteran’s Administration

As of July 2010, the Veteran’s Administration projected that there were approximately 23 million veterans living in the U.S. Unfortunately, there are many benefits that these Veterans and their families are unaware of. Moreover, there may be many veterans and family members that have applied for benefits and were denied. If a Veteran or his/her family has been denied benefits Van Gilder Trzynka is prepared to walk the service member and family through the appeals process to obtain the benefits rightfully deserved.

Fort Wayne Veterans Benefits Lawyer

Why choose Van Gilder and Trzynka: The VA protects Veterans by requiring that attorneys be accredited to assist claimants in the preparation, presentation and prosecution of claims for benefits. 38 C.F.R. § 14.627(a). This accreditation requires the attorney to obtain special training to properly advocate for the Veteran. Additionally, the VA further protects Veterans by regulating the attorney’s conduct by VA statutes, regulations, and rules of professional conduct. Further, there are constraints on how much an attorney can charge and when the fee may be charged.

Therefore, not every attorney is permitted to advocate for Veterans and their families. David Van Gilder has been accredited by the VA as an advocate for families. Along with his specialized training, David has 25 years of litigation experience to assist you with your claim. Further, the staff of Van Gilder Trzynka is passionate about the rights of our U.S. Veterans as many have spouses, family members and friends who have served this Country.

What benefits are available?

  • Disability Compensation: Veterans may receive disability compensation in which the Veterans Administration (VA) pays monthly compensation to veterans for disabilities incurred or aggravated during military service. This compensation varies with the degree of the disability.
  • Disability Pension: Veterans may also receive a disability pension which is an income-based benefit paid to veterans with honorable war-time service who are permanently and totally disabled due to non service-connected disabilities or who are 65 or older.
  • Dependents and Survivors Benefits: The VA pays what is called a death gratuity, in the amount of $100,000 to the next of kin of service members who die while on active duty (including those who die within 120 days of separation) as a result of service-connected injury or illness.
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Survivors of Veterans may be be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation if the veteran’s death resulted from one of the following causes: (1) A disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on active duty or active duty for training (2) An injury, heart attack, cardiac arrest, or stroke incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on inactive duty for training (3)A service-connected disability or a condition directly related to a service-connected disability. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation may be available to survivors who were disabled from a service connected condition as the time of their death even if the disability did not cause their death.
  • Other benefits: In addition the VA provides a wide range of health care, education, training, and financial services to veterans and their families.


How do I know if I am eligible?

  • You must be able to establish all of the following:
  • Honorable discharge: In general, you may be eligible for benefits if you were “discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.” You may not be eligible if you were convicted of certain offenses or engaged in certain conduct.
  • Disability: You must have a current disability. Under 38 USCS § 5013A, the VA is required to assist you with determining the appropriate diagnosis including providing a VA medication evaluation. Other independent medical evidence is relevant for this determination. The disability can be permanent or temporary.
  • Service related: Your disability must be connected to your military service. Either the injury occurred, was aggravated, or is otherwise related to your service. The VA is also required to assist the veteran with gathering this information. Medical evidence, military records and statements from family and friends are examples of the type of evidence needed for this determination.
  • Disability rating: Finally, the VA will assign a disability rating to the veteran that assesses the effect the disability has on the veteran’s ability to work. The amount of compensation is determined by the veteran’s rating. Veterans may request their rating be reevaluated and appealed. Improvement in a veteran’s condition can also result in reduced rating which can also be appealed.
  • Basic eligibility for family of service members

How do I apply for Veterans benefits?

You may apply for benefits in person at your local VA office or VA medical facility or by regular mail. VA Forms

The VA has provided a website that you may apply for benefits.

Welcome to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – Veterans Online Application System (VONAPP)

If you need assistance in applying you may ask any Veterans Service Organization. For more information on available assistance see the following VA pamphlet. Additionally, Van Gilder and Trzynka is able to assist you with your initial application.

How will I know what type of benefits I qualify for?

Who will decide whether I am entitled to benefits?

The local VA office will decide your claim.

What if my claim is denied?

Veterans and their family have the right to appeal decisions made by the VA. The first step is to file a Written Notice of Disagreement (NOD). The Notice of Disagreement is due within one year. Upon receipt of the NOD, the VA will provide a Statement of the Case that provides the basis for the decision. The Veteran must file a “Substantive Appeal” within sixty (60) days of the mailing of the Statement of the Case.

The appeal is heard by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Adverse decisions from the Board can be reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims. This appeal must be made within one-hundred and twenty (120) days. Further review may be available through the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Van Gilder & Trzynka, P.C.
    436 East Wayne Street
    Fort Wayne, IN 46802
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  • New Haven office
    435 Ann Street
    New Haven, IN 46774
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  • Phone: 260-424-8132
    Toll Free: 888-255-7910
    Fax: 260-969-5361